October 09, 2019

The most successful children have parents who play these 8 roles, according to a Harvard researcher

Harvard professor Ronald Ferguson, author of The Formula: Unlocking the Secrets to Raising Highly Successful Children, and co-author Tatsha Robertson comprehensively studied how different parenting styles shape children's success.

1. The "early learning partner"

This role has parents getting their child interested in learning at a young age, before they start school. Ferguson calls the early learning partner the most important role of the eight. The most successful kids can read basic words by kindergarten, and experience what Ferguson calls "the early lead effect," where the child responds positively to a teacher's excitement that they can already read.

2. The "flight engineer"

This is the parent monitoring the child's growth environment, making sure they're getting what they need and intervening when they're not.

This isn't the same as being a helicopter parent, who Ferguson says "are so involved in their children's lives they don't create space for them to develop independent relationships, learn how to negotiate for themselves, or identify their own interests."

3. The "fixer"

In this role, the parent ensures no key opportunity for their child's betterment is lost — and they don't let a lack of resources slow them down. As Ferguson says, "The parents might be living in poverty, but if they see an opportunity they judge to be essential for their child's success in school or life, they'll walk through walls to get it."

4. The "revealer"

Revealer parents help their child discover the world by going to museums, libraries, exhibits, etc. — anything to expand their worldview. Again, this happens even with a lack of resources; revealer parents get creative in how to accommodate such outings.

5. The "philosopher"

Ferguson says this is the second most important role, because it helps children find purpose. Here, the parents ask and answer deep life questions, never underestimating a child's capacity to understand life and grasp the idea of meaning. I've been astonished at how early my daughter grasped these big ideas.

6. The "model"

This is classic role-modeling. Parents who do this well are clear about which values are important to them and work hard to pass those values on to their children, who then aspire to emulate them.

7. The "negotiator"

This role teaches the child to be respectful while standing up for themselves and what they believe in (especially in the face of those with power and authority).

8. The "GPS navigational voice"

Ferguson described this as, "The parents' voice in the child's head after the child has left home, coaching the young adult through new situations in life." I can only hope our daughter's GPS never says "recalculating," given the work we've done to try and keep it on course.

Original article



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